Posts Tagged ‘Surveying’

Accessing our Engineering Drawing PDFs from within the PortGIS Utilities Web Application

April 29, 2009

Our PortGIS Utilities Web Application is a useful tool to share our data created in AutoCAD throughout the Port. The data shown is held and managed as .dwg files, which are primarily accessible only by the Civil Designers in our Engineering Department. The output of much of their work are blueprints. It is a reasonable notion to assume that GIS based maps and blueprints can easily be integrated, after all they both show spatial relationships. In order to bring CAD data into GIS our CAD users must follow both CAD and GIS standards. Using CAD data within GIS  is one of the great obstacles we as GIS professionals work to overcome. We are tackling this obstacle 2 different ways 1) We have created a folder, dubbed “the vault” , where CAD data follows GIS standards and 2) We have created a GIS feature and a link to the digital blueprint. This video below shows how we have addressed both of these methods and goes into detail on how to track down blueprints, as PDFs, for projects within Port Tidelands.

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Measure tool in the PortGIS (Beta) Web Application

January 21, 2009

Below is a quick video on the measure tool in our PortGIS Web Application.

We use the infield at Petco Park to show the tools accuracy, but the real power is combining this tool with Port data, specifically the TidelandsMapbook2007 service. The system is set up to answer questions such as; How far is it from the U.S. Pierhead Line from to the parcel leased to the Maritime Museum Association of San Diego?

Lastly, we would like to welcome Vice Admiral Charles Wurster to our Port family. Admiral Wuster was named the Port of San Diego’s new president and chief executive officer. To see the official Port of San Diego Press Release click here.

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ArcGIS 4 AutoCAD and our Port GIS Services

December 26, 2008

ArcGIS 4 AutoCAD is a free tool which allows AutoCAD users to view ArcGIS Services within AutoCAD. This software creates a bridge between the GIS world and the CAD world. AutoCAD users are drawn to this tool because it gives them a window into GIS data, while still allowing them to work in the familiar AutoCAD environment. As a GIS professional, I think it is useful because it will lead CAD users to implement GIS spatial standards (coordinate system, projection and scale) without much effort. The short-term selling point for this product is that it is easier to access our in-house aerials using ArcGIS for AutoCAD than the current process. Below is a video showing how to connect to our in-house GIS services. I am not sure why my cursor is shown as a timer icon- please ignore.

I reviewed ArcGIS for AutoCAD a few months back. Since then ESRI has released the new version (build 110) which is used in the video. It seems much more stable and we are now getting real functionality we can integrate into our daily workflow.

The current release of ArcGIS for AutoCAD makes great strides in bringing GIS data into AutoCAD. The next release will streamline the process of creating GIS data within AutoCAD. We will update this blog as new functionality becomes available. If you would like to learn more about this I suggest you also read Don Kuehne’s GIS CAD Interoperability blog at We certainly will.

Our AutoCAD users manage much of our spatial data. For example; a storm drain is moved based on new construction. Not only will these changes effect Engineering data. These changes will also be reflected throughout the rest of the system. Environmental Services and General Services seem most likely to utilize this data. How does your department utilize data produced (or owned) by AutoCAD users? Would it be useful for this data to be displayed in an interactive web-based map?

Obstacles to Engineering and GIS

September 27, 2008

Malcolm and I presented today to the Engineering department showing the beta version of the PortGIS. Integrating Engineering could easily become our most difficult challenge. The major obstacle for us is this: Engineers produce/edit geometry (AKA geographic data, linework), while other departments are focused upon producing/editing table data associated with geometry. For example, Environmental Services would like to manage their Storm Water Inspection database through GIS. Their data will be associated with a point line or polygon (geometry), but they will not be producing/editing the geometry on a regular basis.

I’d like to propose my usual “begin with the end in mind”: I keep thinking about the example of a water utilities network and a task which would ask a question like “If a particular valve is turned off, which buildings won’t get water?” Engineers would be providing us with this data, meaning they would not only need to follow CAD standards but also GIS standards. As you can see, this could quickly become more trouble than it is worth. We have hired Halcrow as a consultant to help develop a sustainable, user friendly approach to this issue. We had a meeting with JW and BW (see Docs #315612) to kickoff phase 2 of this project. They seemed open to the idea of working with ESRI products, but we are depending on them to create a sustainable integration of Engineering drawings in the PortGIS.

I planned on including directions to install the software I showed at the Engineering meeting at the end of this post. The directions ended up being detailed and long winded. Instead, I have decided to include a video, and I promise to get together clear and easy directions to follow for early next week. The PortGIS is currently down due to a server operating system upgrade. Hopefully we can get it going again first thing Monday morning.

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